Friday, January 20, 2017

For This Reason

Colossians 1:9-10 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..."

A second storm ended this afternoon as I drove home from the bank and waited to get some dinner. I listen to the news of the day and wondered about the storms to come... 

I know who I shelter under, who my foundation is truly built on, who promises JOY in the morning.

America inaugurated a new President today. I don't have to tell you that he is not well-liked by many, yet he became our choice in this democratic process. He is not a politician but a negotiator. He doesn't use political language that moves around the problem, but speaks and tweets unfiltered while sitting in the middle of a major traffic jam leading to the heart of the issues in this country. Many our prepared to block entrances and exits. I am on the overpass, asking God for the right direction. 

I pledge my allegiance to America, but I serve a King, the eternal King of Kings. As a citizen of His Kingdom, He asks us to pray for those in authority over us. 

And so I will continue to pray for our President. May God guide you, fill you with His knowledge, give you understanding, grace and compassion for all people, citizens of the U.S. or not. You, a billionaire businessman with all your assets can boast of a fruitful life, probably a whole lot of good works with your money, but now this country waits and hopes that the next 100 days will be unifying, not divisive, encouraging, not fearful, strong, not overbearing. 

The fruit the Lord talks about is the kind that quenches a thirst, that leaves seeds to plant hope for eternity, a harvest that feeds thousands spiritual food. Fruit that empowers  to change a generation to end the poverty of hopelessness and degradation. 

A President can do that, can inspire. 
Anyone who lays their hand, their eyes and heart on the pages of a Bible, Abraham Lincoln's or their grandmother's from another generation, can inspire. 

Lincoln's Bible 
Someone with a little orange New Testament given to them on a street corner, can inspire. 

If God so wills it in the pages of His Word and that Word is read and His servant is obedient, miracles can happen. And so we pray for this reason...

For this reason, President Trump; for this reason, my friend, 

For this reason, I read His Word so that I can be continually transformed and a fruit-bearing citizen of this earth, of this country, of my own holy-ground-moments as compared to eternity.  


I'm baking a cake right now. It's for a memorial service tomorrow for Rev. Harvey Boese, a servant of the Lord. Just a few months shy of 100 years of age, he faithfully attended my church with his wife and daughter and her husband for the last several years of his long life. I read his obituary in last Saturday's paper. Here is a part of it: 

Rev. Harvey Gilbert Boese, 99, a resident of Chino Hills for 18 years, died Jan. 6, 2017, at home

He was born April 9, 1917, in Bloomfield, Mont. He grew up on a farm near Avon, S.D., where he completed eighth grade. He attended a school for the speech-handicapped for one year. 
He graduated from St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College, Minn.) in 1941. He received his bachelor of arts and bachelor of divinity degrees from Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary in 1943. He attended Mission Training Institute (now Nyack College, N.Y.) in 1944 and later attended Fuller School of World Missions. He earned his GED in 1975 at age 58.
He married Grace Chadderdon on June 15, 1944.
He was a Christian & Missionary Alliance missionary to Thailand for 28 years. He was pastor of Baldwin Park Alliance Church for five years. He provided translation services and pastoral care for Asian refugees for 11 years.
He lived in Chino Hills since 1998, when he retired from pastoral ministries.
Someone prayed for Harvey Boese. He leaves a legacy that impacted the world for hope and the Truth. He never stopped attending church. He wanted and knew he needed the fellowship and the "knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understandings."

I know without a doubt, that the Lord is pleased with Rev. Harvey Boese. 

I know the Lord is pleased with me...because...because...
because I write? 
because I baked a cake?
because I told a woman she dropped her money in a puddle in the pouring rain (didn't notice it) today at the bank? 

None of the above. The Lord is pleased with us when we pray, when we take the time to humble ourselves, empty ourselves and give of ourselves to pray for others, even those who may or may not be someone we respect, or someone who has hurt us...or someone we fear. The Lord is pleased when our heart's desire is to be in His  will, not ours. It's never about our own goodness. It is because He is good. 

I am sure Harvey had a lot of stories of people who prayed for him, and I am sure at the service tomorrow, there will be stories from people who Harvey prayed for. 

For this reason, because God ordains it, I pray: God Bless you President Trump, God Bless America. God DID bless you Rev. Harvey Boese. God, bless his family, his dear wife Grace and his children and grandchildren. Give them the comfort and the legacy of faith to carry on. May You continue to use the seeds of the fruit planted for Your Harvest. I ask you Lord, for those souls who say they belong to You, to be obedient to Your Word and not their own agenda, to have words of love, especially for those who refuse, do not or cannot see You in the diluting of Your Truth in our country. Thank you Lord for Your Kingdom which will rule eternally and for the privilege to be a part of Your plan. Amen. 

Let us pray for this country, against division, hatred and violence--for unity and understanding, to work together, despite our own bias and opinions, for the greater Good. For so many reasons Lord, we pray, but if only for one reason Lord, that we might bring You glory and be privileged to partner with You to make Your truth known. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

One-On-One Time

Luke 5:3-4 And He got into one of the boats which was Simon’s, (Peter) and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the multitudes from the boat. And when He had finished speaking He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let your nets down for a catch.”

Have you shared a “boat ride” with the Lord?  Has he stepped into your very personal space and asked you to sit beside Him? Or have you chosen to stay on the shore, with the crowd where you find safety, obscurity, listen from afar with no commitments, learn enough lyrics from the songs to be convincing to some, maybe to yourself?  

All of us are a part of some crowd, followers, interested onlookers. At some point though, when does it become…when do you allow the Lord to have that one-on-one time with you, when do you schedule that appointment and begin the dialogue, the one about removing you from the crowd, and finding where your true purpose and gift can be and should be applied? You've kind of always wanted to know...don't you? -- Your story must...needs to make sense. 

Staying on the shore, lost in the crowd: it’s like reading everybody’s Facebook posts, but remaining anonymous. You took information in, but never gave back. 

The crowd pressed in and Jesus saw Peter.  He saw the whole picture of what was to be with this disciple, both the good and the bad times. Did he think past to the time of betrayal and then linger on whether to pursue him based on what He knew?

No, Jesus wanted to give Peter a plan, a greater purpose, offer up the Hope of reconciliation. He knew Peter’s spontaneous will, his fears, his self-centered nature. Don’t we all have that in our core—or something similar? Yep, we do.  But Jesus, being God, focused on the good, because God is good. He saw Himself manifested, glorified in Peter. Peter felt His love, was inspired already by His teaching…and now he wanted more and Jesus offered it in one-on-one time with Him. 

Jesus climbed into the boat and continued his preaching from there to the crowd on the beach. But he called out to Simon Peter to join him. Peter received teaching away from the beach, from the crowd, one-on-one, in a boat rocking back and forth in the waves, the waves and tides of life decisions and choices. Then Jesus told Peter to go deeper… and in Peter’s obedience, he was blessed and he grew in his belief.  

When Jesus went to the Cross, He got into your boat. He calls each and everyone to come, sit beside Him and listen. Where are you? Did you jump out only to find yourself dog paddling, even drowning? Are you still standing on the beach building castles that soon will be washed away?

The Lord has been calling out to you, yes, you in the crowd of this world, surrounded by your bantering burdens, your definitive doubts, the undulating unbelief, and the angry acid always rising.  I pray you are not lost in the crowd but fine tune your ears and soul with prayer to hear His voice calling out to you. The crowd hears, but does not listen.

I know you hear His voice, because you so recognize it;  it is the grace...that love. 

Climb in, pull anchor, trust Him and go deeper. You’ll find beauty in the journey and nets full of courage, strength, wisdom, and growing faith.  Step out for the first time, or again and refresh yourself in His Word.

I’ll say it again, Trust Him. He wants to give you a gift of discovery of yourself, who you can be in Him. Deeper is not somewhere over your head. Deeper is where you will grow, surrounded by buoys of encouragement in His Word, in fellowship and a net full of purpose in each new dawn.

Lord, going deeper takes courage. When you call us to salvation, we are forgiven, entering again into a loving relationship with the Father and receiving the Holy Spirit. Lord, in Your Word, you call us to continue to seek You and Your will. You give us gifts in which to help and encourage one another. Going deeper Lord is like pursing a Master’s degree, a Ph.D., obtaining the wisdom so we can serve others well, bear fruit, and shine Your Light. You Lord, paid all the tuition with your blood shed on the cross. In that, my knees hit the sand on the beach in humble thanksgiving. Now Lord, grant strength to conquer fears and step into the boat when you call us to one-on- one time with You.  A deeper faith immerses us in Your grace and that is a perfect place to be. Amen. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Grand Attitude, Every Day, All Day.

Psalm 107:8-9 "Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul, He has filled with what is good."

We're expecting a late night storm Sunday into Monday. It will be so nice to hear the rain, the drip-drop through my trees and the splash-splatter on my front door mat. I'll see the leaves shine again, polished by Heaven's hydration, and more of the yellow leaves now covering my backyard, a thick blanket of gold falling to make way for the new. It is oh, so good.

Thank you Lord for loving and for kindness.

Does the earth give thanks?  "Let them give thanks," the Psalmist says.

America celebrates Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside to be proactive in gratitude. 

When the skies overflow and rain streams through the dryness of the land,  it swallows and gulps that which it longs for, that sustains, nourishes, and enables it to thrive. It is loving and kindness and the results are beauty in the Spring, new growth, new hope.

And just think for a moment...If we spend some time feeding and drinking, nourishing in the words, the attitude and posture of Thanksgiving, what results can we expect in our spiritual bodies? And what if that became an all day every day event?

"Eucharisteo--thanksgiving--always precedes the miracle." 
~ Ann Voskamp.

Gratitude is just that, a GRAND ATTITUDE, because we see His wonders all around us. It can change us, if we allow it.

What wonders captivated you today? What did you notice, what caught you, stopped you for a second to know that God is good and He is loving and kind?

Loving: For me, today was spent at a memorial service for a close relative. "Let your Lifesong Sing" played by the worship band as my little 2-year old (3rd) cousin played at my feet, his great-grandfather's legacy surrounding me in new life and good memories.

Kindness: A friend from church sees me at the grocery store tonight and comments about my manuscript, how it is going to bless the church!  With tears, I could only say how without the church blessing and loving on me, teaching me, being Jesus to me--my memoir would not have been written.

God is good: Just when I think my son doesn't care too much about "certain things," he comes home from a little road trip and hands me a heart-shaped rock.

"I found a heart rock at the river mom, for you."

The earth needs rain. The soul needs the Hope of the Lord, the Word of God to sustain life, a hopeful life, a life of purpose. We need the constant drip and saturation of His Word, combined with fellowship and worship to sustain our walk with Him.

We all hunger for something. Our stomach growls, our gut groans for more. We consume and regurgitate, fill and purge. Then do it all again. Every day. All day. But the longing soul cannot be satisfied with our worldly lusts, our self-indulgence, our gluttony for our own expectations and desires.

It's only when we truly empty ourselves, remove the bag of our own guts and gizzards of grand schemes and glory, can the Lord refill us with His Goodness. It's a Grand Attitude of humbleness and sacrifice that will spring forth inner peace and joy.

Lord in Heaven and on Earth, we thank you and give you praise for how you show us Your wonders with the cycles of seasons, with sunshine, rain and new growth. Thank you Lord for satisfying our thirst when our lives become dry, when we've neglected Your Word, Your fellowship and failed to give You priority in our lives. Your sweet promises quench our hearts and hydrate our blood to flow again with a GRand Attitude: Gratitude! Thank you Lord for Your satisfaction, for feeding us Truth and helping us to desire your Banquet Table. Be with us Lord in Your Holy Spirit and continue to lead us into a life of Thanksgiving, not just one day out of the year, but all day, every day and continue to bring to us all Your wonders and goodness. May we be humble, for You Lord are Worthy. Lord, prompt us and prepare us to receive You, Every day, all day. Amen.

                                                   LIFESONG ~ CASTING CROWNS


Friday, October 14, 2016

So Close, Yet Still So Far

Matthew 13: 57-58:  And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household." And He did not do many miracles there because of their own unbelief. 

Where is it the hardest to live your faith? At your work? Maybe. At church?...lots of spiritual comfort there. With your neighbors? We are called to love and serve our neighbors. All is good in the neighborhood. 

Let's ask this...Who do you have the most expectations for? Who do you find easy to judge, to "correct," to metaphorically be comfortable with, really be yourself...?

...Your household.  Your kin.  Your close family. 

The townspeople of Nazareth didn't get Jesus. He was from their lowly town and nothing good ever came out of Nazareth. How could this son of their neighbor, this brother of one of their buddies, ...this Nazarene, be so knowledgeable of scripture, share such wisdom? After all, he (He) was the son of a carpenter, he grew up with them, had the same experiences, same customs...

These fellow citizens with Jesus, missed it. Their unbelief, skepticism, maybe even jealousy, kept them distant from really seeing God, who came to bring fellowship with the Father--so very close.  He was their own neighbor, friend, maybe even their half-brother. 

God moved among them yet their unbelief, their own ideas about themselves, that they just were not worthy enough, --and who was he (He) to tell us any different...kept them from knowing who He really was--the Messiah. In the last part of this verse it says that He did not do many miracles there. 

It wasn't because there wasn't a need. 

Great is the need, our need. Greater still is our sin and our need to reconcile. 

They didn't ask Him, seek Him, truly follow Him, listen and process the Words that would heal, Their pride and their unbelief, maybe even unwillingness to truly connect and know Him brought their own isolation from the One who walked among them. 

So close, yet still so far. 

In my special education class, the Renaissance kids (student leadership) collaborate with our students for one period during the week. They interact and stimulate conversation, peer to peer, teenager to teenager. It is awesome. 

This week's project: a miniature hot air balloon made from a Dixie cup, yarn got it, a balloon--a bit under inflated with helium. Pictures of our kids were taken the week before, cut out, mounted on cardboard placed inside the Dixie cup. The kids got to see "themselves" float around the room. 

I got to thinking about faith and trust and my own "balloon ride" in that journey  I had quite a few crash landings, but God never left me and continues to teach me His ways, His direction--and I pray I am listening and honoring Him.  

Sometimes it is just a "cardboard cutout," of ourselves, a flattend version minus the things we want to hang on to that we've placed in the basket of faith. God sees all of us. The launching moments of climbing high brought us salvation, but soon, the basket comes floating back down, the heaviness of our burdens not allowing us to see beyond to the horizon of what God can and wants to do in our lives. It's like having a brand new Mercedes Benz, but never driving it, keeping it locked up in the garage. 

Having experienced life, its hurts and God's healing,  some want to help, to understand, to encourage and give a good word, maybe some wisdom from their own ride. Unwilling to accept, the root of bitterness keeps JOY waiting in the wings. 

It is the miracle of seeing who Jesus really is and how to live free, soaring under His protection and purpose that gives true hope in a broken and hurt-filled world. 

The belief in ourselves and our feelings rather than His desires for us, more than the belief in the power He has to change us and our thoughts, is like the under-inflated balloon. It soon floats down to the street view. It's comfortable there. It's what we know.  

You don't get it. That's who you are, not me...Who are you to tell me?...

--and they took offense. 

So close, yet still so far.  

Lord, Please help us to accept wisdom, even when the lessons are so hard. Help us to be discerning, to be obedient to Your will for us and how to let go of the hurts that keep us grounded and isolated. Help us Lord to get close to You and not drift away in our own worldy thoughts. Lord, I don't want to be a cardboard version of myself in You, but be all You want me to be, learning to fly high in surrender and feel the love of those you've put in my life for  fellowship as we help each other through the ups and downs of this life. Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word. May we study, discern and know its truth and live accordingly so that You will be glorified and believed in us. I believe Lord, help me with my unbelief. Amen. 

Sidewalk Prophets~ "Live Like That" 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Prayers For A Seismic Event.

Isaiah 78:35  "And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the most High God, their Redeemer."

Last weekend, my family and I traveled just a couple hours east to the low desert for a weekend getaway. Always enjoying the open landscape of the desert, its unique plant life and vast wilderness, it certainly did not dissapoint. We took a drive out to Joshua Tree National Park on one of our outings, capturing visuals with photography and viewing information provided by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior--awe-struck at the beauty and splendor. God's architectural floor plan of these deserts actually include the convergence of two: the Mojave and the Colorado.

The weekend, special to us because it is the birthday of my older son, who looks down upon us now,  from his Heavenly vantage point. We do this family time in his memory for our own good and because God is good.

It's 3 days I yearn for more than Christmas, more than summer vacation, more than reunions, more than...anything. 


Because in those 3 short days, a difficult relationship I have with my other son, heals. He lets his guard down. I never talk about yesterday or next week. We enjoy the moment, laughing, learning, playing, speaking civil to each other, exploring, celebrating, asking questions without pretense-- loving each other and  totally enjoying the scenery, the food and the atmosphere...each other. 

I ask God in my prayers... why do things change when we return?  His answer to me is to wait, be patient, keep praying and keep acting as though everyday I have to love on my son, is a day I am making and creating something new in him, softening him to receive and know the path I  planned for his own redemption, his return to his own promised land.

 OK, Lord, I trust You. 

For now, his wild wilderness remains untamed, hidden with venomous snakes seemingly always ready to strike. Like the Rangers at the station of the entrance to the park, God's Holy Spirit is at work protecting and guiding him and encouraging me. At night, away from the artificial light of the world, the sky in the desert displays the brillance of the stars and the planets--God's glorious realm in the heavenly places. I believe with all my heart because he is my son and I know his soul, that in his own strength, things will not change, but through faithful prayers of many and God's will, mountains will move and hearts will proclaim His goodness and stars will shine into eternity on the day God does a work in his heart. 

He moved mountains for me and in the moving of those hard places, one can see the evidence of surrender, the patterns of grace and the shape and color of love formed by the Creator himself. The bubbling lava of sin, shame, regret and grief, is now a vessel, a usable tool for His glory. 

For the next few days, the USGS has issued an earthquake advisory for So. California.  With over 140 "seismic events" recorded since Monday along the San Andreas Fault, (which also runs through Joshua Tree) this prediction warns us to be prepared in the event of the inevitable, the shaking up and realigning of the earth's crust.

Sometimes God has to do that...shake us up, and show us where we need realigning, teach us how to do just that. It's a slow process.  Joshua Tree, formed by volcanic activity, molten rock intruding into hardened rock,  is very visible and the unique shapes and stacking is truly magnificent. God has a plan for each and every one of us. 

Jesus, I pray to be a part of the plan, not in the way of Your plan. I ask for your molten blood to intrude and form a new shape in a hardened heart. Bring about change in a varied and vulnerable young man like the beautiful desert we explored. Converge your vast will and sovereignty together and create a unique and powerful formation in my son. Let him grow up, towards Your Light. When anger boils over and pressure cracks at the surface, show us the shade and hydration of  Your oasis of truth and purpose. Teach us Lord to honor you and set You apart and be a witness with kindness and gentleness, preserving the wonder You have created us to be. I pray this for our sons and daughters in the wilderness and for ourselves, traveling the road of faith that offers strength and hope around every turn.  Thank you Lord for your magnificent Creation and the lessons we learn and the inspiration it brings. Amen. 

Heart-Shaped Rocks 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Graceful Revelation

I Peter 1:13 "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

When one reads this verse, it seems like a job description or a to do list to receive a blessing. First I must "gird my mind." What is that? 

To "gird" means to get ready for something. In ancient days, men and woman wore long tunics with belts around the waist. When work or even going into a battle presented itself, the hems sometimes got in the way, so, the wearer would lift the bottom and tuck it into the belt, thus preparing to take on the task at hand. 

Second, keep sober in spirit. If I am hoping for a blessing, for God to prepare a way, I would hope He wouldn't look down from His Throne and find me lazy in my pursuit of Him, flippant in my attitude, or "drunk" in desperation over a situation where anxiety rules and unkind and unfaithful words gush out. 

Third, "fix your hope." Constant, dialed in, no wavering, steadfast, unmovable. 

OK, once we've got all that accomplished, perfected, then we are Holy and can receive a revelation, a blessing...a fine life as a believer. Is that what this verse indicates? 

But that is not what Grace is. Grace...well that comes first. The revelation? That came the moment we trusted, believed, had the encounter with our true self, our sin nature and the perfect God who desires a relationship with us. 

Grace is Christ and Christ is Grace. We are Holy in His eyes because of the Cross. To grow in the Lord takes some action on our part. Getting our feet wet in the Word, finding our place in the Body of Christ, prayer and intimacy with the Lord, transparency with each other struggling to do the same--this is the beginning and the eternal revelation of holiness, the work He will do in us and through us. 

In the last 4 weeks there are things I am preparing for with the Lord as my Shepherd, clearing the way. Spending 3 summers writing a memoir, it is ever clear through this whole process and beyond, that He is before every word I've written. Ready, sober, fixed on relaying His story of grace and mercy within my grief, I completed the work and now take action through His grace to present it for publication. 

My husband awaits a major surgery. God prepares us in very tangible ways and even in some complicated ways, yet He gives us the wisdom to see His purpose in those difficulties. I choose to fix my eyes on Him and know that when He gives us something hard, complicated, something we have to wait and see through, He also has a plan to remove it in His timing and reward us in our faithfulness and obedience. 

I've seen it before. Sometimes as humans, we just don't take care of something hindering us because of our various excuses or doubts. So God, in His love for us, puts that hindrance front and center and then gives us a promise, that all things will work together for the good. 

"Trust Me in this,  He says. Let's take action together and the hindrance will be all for My glory and Your testimony." 

And that is the revelation...

when you begin to know from the very beginning that God's grace covers it all. "I believe in You Lord, help me with my unbelief." 

Lord, when we face certain trials or even in today's daily challenges of living and pursuing a righteous life, Your instructions are for us to be proactive in our faith, even when we can only muster up a little at a time. It's our heart You look at, our desire to know You more, share Your grace and love with our neighbor and each other, surrender our incompleteness to You. Lord, be our belt, holding on tight to those things that want to trip us up. Protect us from the intoxication of the world, the demons of doubt and anxiousness. Help us Lord to focus on Your goodness, from all the things we have already seen and what You have promised to give us. Thank You Lord, for Your grace that goes before us and for Your plan that prepares the way for Your Glory to be revealed through us, already set before us through Your Son on the Cross. What a privilege Lord to walk on this prepared road, the rocky parts and the smooth as Your child trusting and waiting for more grace to come. Amen. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Inspired. Affirmed. Redeemed.

Romans 8:28  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." 

Inspired. Affirmed. Redeemed.  All these words fill my heart and mind as I interact with those around me and continue to move forward in my own spiritual trust-walk. Yet God still allows challenges and concerns before me, before this country and the world we live in. It seems everyday this summer swings like a pendulum--up to the heights of knowing God's love and plan, seeing it play out in front of me, bravery and achievement of goals, reunions and celebrations, vacations and beauty in the garden... butterfly wings. Then the news and politics fill our Facebook and living rooms, the heartbreak and evil, the disease and estrangement, the entitlement; the blatant disregard for human life...the tragedy this world has become. That last bit... is a darkness that's always existed, seeping in the cracks we ignore, the things we compromise, the choices we make to appease instead of stand up for truth, and ignorance of what God already accomplished.  God is sovereign and is always, always GOOD!

I am inspired by a young man who chose a profession of service, that of a police officer. Not only did he choose to be an officer of the law, but to do so in the big city, the City of Angels. At such a time as this, we climbed into a car in the early predawn hour on the morning after 5 Dallas policemen were taken out, executed. We watched the brave young recruits receive their handshake from the Chief of Police and the Mayor, listened to the heart breaking yet determined speeches--bittersweet words unintended for that morning, but determined to comfort and strengthen, assure and...give gratitude and love. I was so honored to sit with my closest friend and her family and pray for her son...our sons and daughters.

I am affirmed when my own story of "Grace Upon Amazing Grace, " my work in progress these last few summers, winds down to concluding thoughts, and a point of view switching from myself to my son in heaven. Incidents that to some might seem coincidence or "weird," I know and feel God reaching down and giving me a high-five, a thumbs up in a song or two, butterflies, and many other occurences. It bestows a  confidence... (sigh and smile) that the pages will be tangible soon. Words will be read, and hearts will see and turn to His grace in their own grief. 

I feel the redemption flow when I recognize the nudge, the need to tell someone's story, someone I haven't seen in 25 years. When they show up out of nowhere, open up to me about life and struggles and their own redemption through the gift they've been given late in life, to discover a talent beyond their wildest dreams in the throes of a cancer diagnosis...

"Maybe you're meant to tell my story," he said. Maybe I am. 

 "Genesis"  (God Creating Mars). 

***Creating art for only 11 months now,  a suggestion given to him by a counselor to use the other part of his brain, his three-D paintings are unique, the colors amazing in the detail and texture, and the subjects...inspiring!  

It happens again, a different person, a different dialogue  She writes in a message, ..."I need to tell you stories of the Holy Spirit, true stories of Hope I've experienced.  I need a writer." 

Then again, another person from the far past..."help me please, pray for me, how do I connect back to God in my prayer life?"

Three different souls, me and One God that unites us all. 

 I am redeemed because I am every one of these friends. I lived a life on the fence, one step in the world and a foothold on faith, straddling for balance, ignoring God until tragedy struck. In time and through genuine confession and wanting Him front and center, in control, did grace come pouring back, flooding me with peace and a hope I never felt before. I connected by writing in the pages of a journal and reading with intent, the Holy Words of Scripture. My prayers and my whole self became for the first time, authentic before God, highlighting spiritual gifts and purpose I never believed I was worthy enough to offer. I am used of Him now to bless others. In my darkest moments of this life, God revealed to me in the true supernatural, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and I long to share this miraculous gift of that very grace with everyone. 

So now, in my thoughts, I think on the good, the good God brings out to those that love Him and how it does all work together, even if it takes years. We all need to want to be an inspiration, to have affirmation in our  prayers, to want to serve and protect and give back a bit of ourselves so others can feel hope, and tell of His goodness. He still is in the miracle business. He does it in lives and hearts of His children who always have mattered since Creation began. Yet He allows us the free will to choose. I pray that God matters in your life today; allow Him to show you how to swing again and reach for the clouds. It's only a matter of a little push, a pump of the feet...and you'll feel the power of redemption pulling you up and out towards your own destiny in Him...

...because that is what makes evil benign--that is what keeps the swing going high to touch the clouds of heaven, that is what brings us intimacy and purpose in the opportunity we have to be grateful to Him everyday. 

We only ask you Lord to keep us humble in our own inspiration, in our own affirmation of You and keep redeeming us all for Your glory. May we serve each other in a holy way that unites us in love because all of us matter, everyone of us. Amen.

 Jars of Clay  Higher Than the Sun